Once upon a time, there was a pool on a roof that had a leak, and there was a kid who dreamed of writing books for shows and movies which only existed in his mind.
Now, there’s only a forty year-old man, with his waning memory and degrading writing skills, waiting for something to bring it all back.
But once upon a time, he dared to dream and live up in the clouds. He dared to see the world, to see things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find others, and to feel.
These are the movies that shaped this kid into the man he now is. These are the movies he cried and laughed over. These are the movies that were etched into his mind as movies that had soul, grit, and tenacity. These are the movies he watches over and over again when he needs fuel for his soul. In a way, you can say these are the movies that defined him.
Whenever I look back at my life, I always look back at how this movie changed my life. For a time, I started collecting stones for my own “memories.” I bought The Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman because of this movie. My wife probably never even understood the significance when I gave her the book. I even wrote my final obituary “Simon style.” That damn obituary kept me alive throughout my bipolar years. I wanted to die a romantic death, so I kept putting off my suicidal thoughts. I wanted a perfect ending to my life like Simon did. This is the movie that has imparted this lesson to me very deeply
My young, idealistic self, asked myself that question too. What will my verse be? What will my contribution to the world be? To change the world and be remembered in my passing. I used to think I’ll do grandiose things, save the world from destruction, bring everlasting peace and all that jazz. At the twilight of my life, I now look at my life, standing on the seashore, thinking these thoughts to myself. It’s not me that I leave to the world. It’s my son and what he does. And I think I’ve done alright by the world, leaving a boy who is kind and infectious with his energy. I didn’t leave a version of me. That would have been a terrible malady upon the world.
I felt this so deeply that I had to spend all my young adult life being melodramatic. My heart was broken before it was whole. And for a while, I thought I would end up like Miss Havisham, handing down my heartbreak to someone else. It turns out that I would find my own Kaoru, which leads me to…
It’s not who got away who really mattered. It’s who stayed when all was lost who does. My wife often misunderstands why I loved this OVA so much. It’s not because the OVA reminded me so much of what I lost. It’s because the ending showed me so much of what I gained. Kenshin ended up with Kaoru and found peace with her. The swordsman laid down his sword because there’s no reason to wander anymore.
For a long while, I thought this would be how it would end for me. I was as haunted by Tristan about his brother’s death as I was about someone I lost as a friend. But I found my bear, and I went and defeated it.
This is all I have to say about this, really.
It didn’t end the way the movies did. I never had the realization that Chris did. I had the epiphany years after the fact, after I chanced upon this movie on TV. And it dawned on me, “Oh, she was that crazy girl pushing everyone away, testing to see who comes back.” So that was why she asked me why I never called back, lol. In my defense, I was a bit dense back in the day. Okaaay. I was full on oblivious. Really thick. I finally understood the reference to 500 Days of Summers though. I misunderstood what you meant the first time you said it. But I finally got it years later.
We watched this movie without subtitles, in it’s original language audio. And for the first time in my life, I realized the power of movies without words. It was this film that made me want to become a filmmaker. It still does.
We can’t talk about film without taking about this masterpiece, this love letter to cinema. If there was ever a film that captured everything wonderful about cinema, this was that film. Everything about it just speaks genius. Including this heartbreaking soundtrack.
What I remember most from this film is that it gave us this soundtrack:
There’s many more I’d like to list down, but for now, I’ll stick with those that molded me during my formative years. And these are those films.